Turkey is once again going through the familiar hectic pace of elections, which will take place on June 24th. These elections are particularly important because subsequently, a completely new political system will be introduced to the country. In this system, which is a type of a Presidential system, there will be no coalition governments. This is consequential because until 2002, Turkey had been ruled by a myriad of coalition governments, which had not fared well for the country, neither economically nor politically. Therefore the new system promises to put an end to the instability that comes with coalition governments. Election of new presidents has been another point that has always caused crises in Turkey. Even when the title was only symbolic with very little power over the country’s affairs, presidential elections caused tension. The new system will hopefully put an end to that unnecessary strain.
It will not include the prime ministry. The President will appoint the Council of Ministers, including Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Ministers will not be Parliament Members, so they will either be appointed from outside the Parliament, or will have to resign first.
After the elections, there is a possibility that the party of the President and the majority party in the parliament will be different. If that happens, the opposition might lock the system and trigger a new crisis. However, the new system also offers ways to bypass such crises. If the President and the Parliament fail to agree on a point and cannot work reasonably, both the Parliament and the President can call for snap elections, leaving the decision to the people and easily solving the problem. However, President will have only two rights to be in the office and if a snap election is called, one right will be lost.
The new system will also bring a plural democratic model, with mechanisms in place to avoid a dictatorship to be formed. For instance, the system will be based on the principle of separation of powers, and the terms of running the office will be limited and the president can be sued and brought to court.
The new political system is not the only novelty brought by these elections. There are also important changes in the election system. The most important one is that it allows parties to cooperate before the elections, which is widely used in many countries with minor differences. However, it is a novelty for Turkey. It will allow smaller parties in the alliance to enter the parliament. This is crucial because there is a 10% election threshold in Turkey, and many people fear that the system won’t allow everyone to be represented in Parliament. Smaller parties that cannot reach 10% threshold and are not able build such alliances, will not have representation in parliament.
The AK Party has been in power for almost 16 years now and bases its election campaign on the projects it completed during this time. The third bridge passing over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, massive state hospitals, sub-sea tunnels that connect Asia and Europe, world’s biggest airport, high-speed trains, airports in almost every Turkish city, bridge that is being built over the Dardanelles Strait, thousands of kilometer long highways and tunnels that link them, Kanal Istanbul project, new shipyards, new satellites launched into space, and the defense industry that is becoming more and more domestic are the most important leverage points for AK Party President Erdogan also announced that after the elections, the state of emergency would be lifted.
56 million people will vote on the June 24th elections. Even with such difficulties, Turkey is the most important democracy in the region. No matter what the outcome is, a stronger Turkey will be in the best interests of everyone. Should Turkey’s democracy and economy begin to falter, the troubles of the Middle East will only exacerbate. For this reason, it is crucial that a strong Turkey is the result of this election. This is what we hope and pray for.
—The author, a Turkish writer, blogs at: www.harunyahya.com